The US national soccer team wrapped up World Cup Qualifying with a good ending. By beating Panama 2-0 in Boston last night (and Mexico blowing it against Trinidad & Tobago), the US finished World Cup Qualifying in first place for the North American region called CONCACAF. The US has qualified for numerous World Cups in the past but has never finished first. A great accomplishment.
Now the question is whether the US will get one of the eight seeds in next June's World Cup in Germany. In theory, the eight seeded teams are suppose to be the best eight teams in the world. The advantage of being a seeded team is that you won't have to play one of the other seven seeded teams in the first round of the tournament. A nice advantage.
Here is the arguement for the US getting one of those top eight seeds:
- The US finished eighth in the last World Cup in 2002.
- The US is currently ranked seventh in the world according to FIFA's own rankings.
- The US was the best team in its qualifying region (there are six regions in FIFA's world).
- In the previous World Cup in 1998, we qualified but finished last of 32 teams.
- The FIFA rankings are crap and nobody understands the statistical equation that generates them.
- Our region is not one of the best two regions in the world. Europe and South America are the best.
Having said all that, here is who I think will be seeded:
- Germany (host)
By the way, as a result of T&T's victory over Mexico, they will now play a home-and-home playoff against Asia's fifth best team (either Bahrain or Uzbekistan). Imagine the travel headaches trying to get from Tashkent to Port of Spain. I just ried to buy a one-way ticket for that trip for kicks but Travelocity melted down and said it couldn't do it. So I broke it up into Tashkent to Tokyo and then Tokyo to Port of Spain. You'd be looking at about $6,000 in airfare and a shitload of time with cramped leg space. Happy travels, guys.
Enough rambling. On a music note, I'm off to see Jens Lekman. Here are a pair of live tunes he put up on his website:
Jens Lekman - You Are the Light (live)
Jens Lekman - Your beat kicks back like death (scout niblett)
UPDATE: extrawack! has a good post up about his trip to the US-Panama match. Also, for U2 fans, he has a nice review and photos of one of the NYC U2 shows (from in front of the stage).
ANOTHER UPDATE: 16 Horsepower has a post that explains the Uzbekistan-Bahrain situation. It looks like T&T will be facing Bahrain in the home-and-home playoff. Whichever team qualifies for the World Cup will be the smallest country to every qualify. Let's go Soca Warriors.